Stay the Night: Montpellier House, Cheltenham

A tired hotel in the town’s smartest neighbourhood has been converted into an impressive holiday let, says Sophie Lam

Where to stay in Cheltenham? There’s only one answer in “the most complete Regency town in England” – Montpellier. It is arguably Cheltenham’s most idiosyncratic – and expensive – neighbourhood. Developed in the early 19th century when the town’s spa culture was really starting to simmer, today it’s an elegant assembly of Regency architecture and well-tended squares. This summer, a rather tired old hotel on a Georgian terrace overlooking Montpellier Gardens was revitalised as a grand holiday let.

Montpellier House is the joint project of Andrew Chard, a former London estate agent, and Cheltenham-based antiques collector Andrew Seccombe, who has filled the house with a trove of period and modern collectibles from his nearby shop, Blighty Antiques. You can’t fail to be impressed by the makeover – and if you’re really swept away, you can purchase anything from the house and have it delivered home, making this not just a luxurious rental but a living museum .

The Rooms

Arranged over four floors, the house has largely kept to its original specifications, with the kitchen in the basement, though now stylishly fitted out in creamy Cotswold stone and high-spec appliances that include two vast dishwashers. There’s an adjoining galley kitchen on one side and baronial dining room on the other, each of which opens on to a patio. The dining room contrasts with the bright kitchen, papered in crimson Vivienne Westwood tartan wallpaper with a centrepiece antler chandelier and a Pop Art portrait of the Queen on the wall. There’s also a well-worn leather armchair in one corner and a robust circular Victorian table that easily seats 10.

The showpiece is the William IV drawing room, painted in midnight blue and furnished with all manner of antiques, from taxidermied weasels to leather chesterfields, chandeliers and silk curtains.

Upstairs, the Beau Nash master suite is equally impressive, with its soaring ceiling and custom-made four poster, complete with steps up to the deep mattress and marshmallow pillows, all perfectly assembled for a swooning maiden. Contemporary Vivienne Westwood Squiggle wallpaper in sky blue and gold and Edison lightbulbs encased in bell jars are cleverly juxtaposed with period furnishings. The other four bedrooms are smaller and more restrained, though each has an en suite bathroom, all with Molton Brown goodies.

Out and About

Look out of the street-facing windows between 4-13 October and you’ll see Montpellier Gardens thronged with visitors to the annual Literature Festival (cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature). This year’s speakers include Mary Berry, Derek Jacobi and Jennifer Saunders, supplemented by workshops, food and drinks stalls and evening events. The gardens also host festivals dedicated to jazz (30 April to 5 May), science (3-8 June) and music (2-13 July). Turn right out of the house and right again into the heart of Montpellier to find Suffolk Parade with its cafés, antiques and interiors shops, continuing into Great Norwood Street with Blighty Antiques at number 11 (01242 691542; blightyantiques.com).

For families, the Cotswold Wildlife Park (01993 823006; cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk) and Cotswold  Water Park (01793 752413; waterpark.org) are both an easy drive from Cheltenham.

Food and Drink

Welcome goodies are provided from local producers: a hamper of brie, Stilton, Gloucester and fresh bread from The Cheese Works; prosecco in the fridge; chocolate truffles from Benjamin Chocolatier; and Hope and Greenwood sweets. The owners can also arrange for 2007  Masterchef finalist Ben Axford to come to cook at the house (from £65 per head). To stock up on provisions, Cheltenham is home to England’s only Whole Foods Market outside London (0800 9757870; wholefoodsmarket.com) although you’ll find more interesting options, such as the Great Norwood Street Delicatessen (01242 260425).

With so much on your doorstep, it’s hard not to be tempted to eat out. A short walk north, the Tavern Cheltenham (01242 221212; thetaverncheltenham.com) is a gastropub serving anything from gourmet spam fritters (£3) to a 20oz Tbone for two (£50). Even closer is the Montpellier Wine Bar (01242 527774; montpellierwinebar.co.uk) where you can get stuck into the extensive wine list with cheeseboards and French fare.

The Essentials

Montpellier House, 33 Montpellier Terrace, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1UX (01242 572716; stayinmontpellier.co.uk). Nightly rental from £375, two-night minimum. Sleeps nine.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Day In a Page

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup